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A toast to what could have been. (part 2) - 95%

hells_unicorn, May 24th, 2009

In probably one of the most surreal moments in my life, I walked home with my copy of this, the promise of new life being breathed into a band that I’d love for more than 10 years and had hoped would return to its original form. Everything was in its perfect order as I placed this DVD into the drive and began watching a historical moment in thrash metal history, the reformation of the classic Anthrax lineup. As the opening part of “Among The Living” began ringing out through the speaker system in a pre-recorded fashion as the band took the stage, the New York audience that these 5 musicians were once a part of decades back gave a roar comparable to what occurs at Iron Maiden concerts, and thus began the grand endeavor of reliving the glory of the past and playing songs that they had not played together as a complete band in just under 15 years.

From start to finish, this concert is an epic win, even if it wasn’t a permanent occurrence. There’s nothing half assed about what occurs, everybody puts their all into what they’re doing and expresses their love for the audience in a tasteful manner in between songs, rather than going off for 5 minutes on some rant about the past. The highlight moment is when Scott Ian temporarily sheds his commercialist sensibilities and introduces the lone song from the debut album “Fistful Of Metal” to appear on this set “Deathrider” with a resounding “this is fucking thrash metal!”. Although Belladonna has to sing underneath the volley of excessive Halford worship that went on when Neil Turbin coined the original studio version, he holds his own and gets the job done nicely, though the fans seem too busy banging their heads right off of their shoulders to notice.

Highlight performances on here are many, most of them realized by Belladonna, Benante and Spitz, but the collective success of the whole is present throughout. Things really come together on “Medusa”, where Belladonna doesn’t miss a note and screams his soul out to the audience in a purely methodical fashion. “Time” comes out as it’s supposed to, not having it’s tempo rushed by the human drum machine behind the kit, and Spitz lays down the wicked leads that can occasionally be sun along with like a true master. Things just become spellbinding when the audience joins in singing the chorus of “Madhouse”, as if this classic song were equally as important as all the fanfare the band is playing from “Among The Living”. And to top it all off, Belladonna throws on a baseball cap on top of his still 80s era hair and joins the rest in some good run with the immortalized rap/metal parody “I’m The Man”.

Ultimately, there’s never a dull moment to be found on here, every moment of music and all of the time in between have transferred perfectly from the concert to the television screen. It’s extremely sad that this was to be the only offering in an extremely short rise to former glory, but this performance stands tall as the greatest live offering that the band has ever committed to DVD. If you like Anthrax, if you have the albums, and if you’re still not satisfied and want a live version of these classics, this is the thing to get. The DVD has some extra songs that the CD does not, so you may want to get this one over the other if you’re forced to choose. But if you want this for both your living room and your daily commutes, then get them both, and relive the brief but triumphant rebirth yet again.